A South American fashion photo shoot turns into a diamond mine seeking adventure for an American photographer and his model.A South American fashion photo shoot turns into a diamond mine seeking adventure for an American photographer and his model.A South American fashion photo shoot turns into a diamond mine seeking adventure for an American photographer and his model.
On the downside, however, I have to admit it's awfully forgettable. Years after my first two viewings I couldn't remember anything about it other than the "Strain it through your teeth" quote, and even after renting the video in the 1980s, again I forgot virtually everything about it within a few years. Also on the downside is that there is virtually no jungle. "Pink Jungle" is the name of a lipstick, and although the tiny town where the model and photographer land is in a jungly area where the photographer supposedly planned to photograph real savages in a real jungle, and although they buy a purple Cattleya orchid from a passing merchant, somehow the jungle is quickly and completely forgotten from the plot as soon as the couple leaves on a diamond- hunting expedition across an all-desert terrain for the majority of the film. Desert scenery is fine, but it is rightfully a let-down for those who paid to see an adventure set in a jungle. Sorry, no Indiana Jones jungle caverns or giant spiders here. Sadly, the presence of a real jungle in the film probably would have made the film much more memorable: deserts are the standard setting for numerous Westerns, but jungles are more reserved for a few exotic films along the lines of Tarzan films, so jungles are inherently more interesting and exotic--therefore more memorable. If the filmmakers were going to rent helicopters and film desert panoramas anyway, they could at least have treated us to some nice aerial shots.
Speaking of scenery, obviously the film missed some golden opportunities for some female eye candy, too, since the light blue peignoir shown to the Customs men, the "Naked Savage" title, the presence of a female model, and McCune's pressure to have Alison stay in his tent all hint of visuals that are never even approached in the film. Another desert adventure movie, "Mackenna's Gold" (1969), did this right just one year later.
The trio on the expedition (Mr. Morris, Alison, and Sammy) are all likable characters in their own ways, and I was impressed with the smooth acting and demeanor of James Garner (Mr. Morris) and George Kennedy (Sammy). The early part of the movie is highly stereotyped, especially the bar scenes, where the characters even make fun of the cloak-and-dagger stereotypes around them, and there are instrumental bossa nova night club standards from the '60s (e.g., "The Girl from Ipanema," "Summer Samba").
Speaking of music, the soundtrack is much better than I remembered or expected. The opening theme song is an appealing but unknown bossa nova instrumental with Latin percussion and acoustic guitar playing rock chords, and all the night club songs are quite pleasant bossa nova tunes, too. I doubt a soundtrack album exists but it surely would have been very nice.
There's not much more I can think to say about the movie. There are several clever capture evasion tricks throughout the film, and a major twist at the end that is cute but seriously lacks logic or realism, in my opinion. I didn't get any sense of real romance in the movie, although evidently it was supposed to be there. Oh well, if nothing else, the movie should leave you wondering what their local "Lobusta" rum tastes like.
- Oct 6, 2016